Movie Review - Universal's Halloween Ends (Spoiler-Free)

Ends this Halloween.

Halloween Ends is a 2022 slasher film directed by David Gordon Green, written by Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green, produced by Miramax, Blumhouse Productions, Trancas International Films, and Rough House Productions, distributed by Universal Pictures. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak. This is the thirteenth installment in the Halloween franchise, although the fourth in the final timeline. It was preceded by Halloween Kills.


"You came here to kill me, so do it." - Laurie Strode

Plot


Four years after Michael Myers' second killing spree, Laurie Strode and her granddaughter, Allyson, have settled. Laurie has put her trauma and Michael behind her. However, when a young man named Corey Cunningham enters Allyson's life, he re-ignites the flame that is Michael Myers, causing an avalanche of violence that forces Laurie to face her demon once and for all.


Ending / Kills / Interesting New Direction for Laurie / Continued Trauma Exploration / Corey Cunningham / The Jurassic World Dominion Problem / Boring / Scares / Plot Holes / Failing the Franchise / Laziness


Final Thoughts and Score


The Sweet


Halloween Ends delivers on one thing: the ending. While most movies this year have lost their way in the ending, this film gets it right. Jamie Lee Curtis was building the ending up as "controversial" and saying it will "make people angry". I don't think that's true. I think most people will be satisfied with this ending. It feels like it closes out Laurie and Michael well, and it gives finality. There will be no more sequels (in this continuity at least). This is definitely Jamie Lee's last outing as Laurie. This feels like Halloween actually ends.


The film also has some gnarly, gnarly kills. There aren't as many as you'd expect, but the ones they do show are BRUTAL. Halloween Kills was carnage candy. Ends doesn't feel unforgiving and cruel like Kills did, but some of the ways people die in this movie are disgusting. You could hear the reaction from the audience in my theater. I'd say there are two kills in here that are the best of the franchise. They are great.


This film also takes Laurie Strode in a cool new direction. They've re-done her character a few times, and it feels like her arc is getting a little repetitive. This movie does something entirely different with her. It put her in a place we've never really seen her, and I enjoyed that. It allows Jamie Lee Curtis to do something different with her performance. I was satisfied with the places that they go with Laurie.


Finally, Ends continues the theme of this reboot trilogy: trauma. In Halloween, we explored Laurie's trauma and how it has affected her family life. In Halloween Kills, we explored the town of Haddonfield and how Michael has affected all of them. Halloween Ends doesn't really explore trauma, but there is a clear running theme of trauma throughout the film that I enjoyed. It feels like it solidified trauma as the main theme of this trilogy, and I really, really appreciated that.


The Sour


Guys. Halloween Ends is bad.


The problems start with the newest character in the franchise: Corey motherf**king Cunningham. This guy absolutely has the most screentime in the film. He's given the most development. He's given the biggest arc. He takes up way more of the focus than either Michael or Laurie, which just left me baffled. The actual arc they give him isn't horrible, but when you make your movie entirely about a new character and it's supposed to be the grand finale of your franchise, that's bad. Every time he's on screen, you just want to cut to Michael or Laurie. And he's on screen A LOT.


Earlier this year, Jurassic World Dominion disappointed audiences because it was the big finale of the Jurassic Park franchise...and the movie wasn't about dinosaurs. Halloween Ends is slightly different. Michael Myers is a prominent figure in the story, but he is not in a lot of this movie. The main character of your franchise, one of the greatest villains to ever grace the silver screen, is barely in the climax of this trilogy. It was such a huge letdown. This film was marketed as THE FINAL SHOWDOWN. Laurie Strode and Michael Myers going at it one last time. It's not that. At all.


This movie is also all kinds of boring. The first two-thirds of this film are genuinely unwatchable. Had this not been a press screening or had I not really cared about this movie, I might've walked out. The final act redeems it slightly, but the first hour or so is barely a horror movie. It's certainly not a Halloween movie. It deals more with teenage romance and character-driven drama that you don't really care about. I am just so confused as to why this was the direction that they took it. It was bad.


Since the first two-thirds of the film don't really feel like a slasher flick, there is a big, horror-sized hole in this movie. It's not scary. There are kills, yes. Michael Myers is in it, yes. But you can cut out a few scenes of this film and it isn't intense. It isn't scary. Halloween '78 and Halloween '18 are both thriller-horror films. They are both edge-of-your-seat thrillers that veer into horror whenever Michael Myers decides to kill people. Halloween Kills is a carnage fest. It's a bloody, bloody movie and feels very horror-centric. Halloween Ends is none of that. The film has almost no tension throughout. There are very few jump scares, and the ones that are there are terrible. And it just isn't scary. At all.


On a plot level, this movie fails entirely. When you sit and think about it, this movie makes absolutely no sense. The path that Corey Cunningham goes down is so dumb and illogical. The decisions that some characters make are so stupid. The film doesn't pick up any of the plot threads that Halloween Kills set up. Things will happen without explanation. There are so many questions that just remain unanswered. If you have lingering questions from Kills, do not expect them to be answered in Ends.


On that note, Halloween Ends desecrates what the last two movies have set up. Originally, Kills and Ends were going to be shot back-to-back. Ends was supposed to take place on the same night as Halloween and Kills, but then COVID happened and they shifted everything. They should've gone with that premise, because the four year time jump basically wipes the slate clean. The major cliffhanger of Kills was the death of Karen Nelson, but Ends barely acknowledges that. All of the characters and plot threads that were setup in Halloween and Halloween Kills receive no attention in Halloween Ends. It fails as a Halloween movie, and it especially fails as the conclusion to this trilogy.


You can tell that the pandemic affected this film, because some of the storytelling here is just lazy. The opening scene is complete garbage. Like the rest of the film, you think it's going one way and then it goes a completely different route that subverts your expectations, but also leaves you going "Really?". Halloween has had a lot of problems with characters making dumb decisions, but some of the decisions that SMART characters like Laurie or Allyson make are outrageous. It's a product of lazy writing and just plain stupidity.


My expectations for Halloween Ends slowly decreased throughout the year, but I was still very excited for this movie. This is one of the biggest disappointments I've ever suffered in the theater. This movie was really, really horrible.


Final Thoughts and Score


Halloween Ends is a lackluster conclusion to Jamie Lee Curtis's final outing as the final girl. A terrible story and a need for more Michael Myers make this one of the year's worst films. I cannot believe I'm doing this for what was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, but I hate this movie.


I'm going Moldy. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Halloween Ends"


Fun Factor: 4/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Story: 1/10

Characters: 3.5/10

Quality: 3/10


Directed by David Gordon Green


Rated R for strong bloody violence, frightening themes and images, language, suggestive material, thematic elements


Released on October 14, 2022


1 hour and 51 minutes


Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode

Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson

Rohan Campbell as Corey Cunningham

James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers

Will Patton as Frank Hawkins

Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace